Personalized medicine and genomics

The human body consists of about 20 trillion living cells, each containing about 23,000 genes. This entire collection of genes is called the genome. The genome contains the instructions for making and sustaining a human being. Mutations in the genome increase disease susceptibility and initiate cancer. 

Genomics research reveals how the genome affects health, disease and response to drugs. Deciphering this complexity is essential to creating better medicines and using existing medicines more effectively.

How is genomics leading to personalized medicine?

Rapid advances in technology have made it feasible to identify a person’s unique genome. One person differs from another by millions of variations in the genome, and many of these variations affect susceptibility to disease and response to treatments.  

Greater understanding of individual genomes is allowing scientists and clinicians to begin to “personalize" medicine. Increasingly, disease prediction, prevention and treatment will be tailored to each patient’s unique genome, including the makeup of one's tumor or infectious microbes. Doctors will be able to assess a person’s risk of cancer and recommend preventative measures.  And physicians will be able to prescribe the most effective drugs with the fewest side effects, based on the patient’s genome-driven response to those drugs. 

The personalized medicine revolution will yield more effective medicines with fewer adverse side effects and lead to longer, healthier lives and lower health care costs. The personalized medicine industry in the United States already generates $286 billion per year in revenues and is growing by 11 percent annually, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Research at JAX Genomic Medicine will contribute to personalized medicine by revealing how genomic variations affect health, disease and drug response.

Future of medicine - video

Future of medicine

Dr. Bob Braun, Jackson's chair of research, discusses the future of personalized medicine, and how our work is integral to that future.
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Genetics and Your Health blog

Genomic research is having an enormous impact on medicine and society at large. Our writers comment on the promise of personalized medicine in the post-genomic era.

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